Alberta supports opioid class action lawsuit

Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan and Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer announce Alberta will support B.C.’s proposed class action against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

The action is brought on behalf of all federal, provincial and territorial governments and agencies that have paid health-care, pharmaceutical and treatment costs related to opioids from 1996 to the present.

In 2018, there were almost 800 fatal opioid-related overdoses and 4,200 calls to emergency services in Alberta.

“Responding to opioid overdoses has taken a tremendous toll on our families and communities, as well as adding to the demands on our health system. Our government will do our part to hold to account those who bear some responsibility for the wave of opioid addiction and overdose deaths we’re seeing.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“Albertans have paid a high price for the irresponsible actions of opioid manufacturers and distributors. While we cannot bring back those we have lost, we can recover some of the enormous financial costs Albertans have paid and continue to pay. And we’ll take a balanced approach going forward, including more access to treatment and recovery services for people with addiction.”

Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

“Our government is committed to ensuring our communities are safe, secure and protected. All Albertans have seen the terrible toll that opioid addiction has inflicted on our province and the individuals and families who suffer from the misery they create. Alberta will support the proposed national class action to hold manufacturers and distributors of opioids accountable for their role in the ongoing addiction crisis in Alberta and across Canada.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

Alberta’s action on opioids

The Alberta government is working to improve access to treatment and recovery services for Albertans dealing with addiction and their loved ones. These actions include:

  • Committing $140 million to improving mental health and addiction care in the province, including $40 million specifically for opioid response.
  • Creating 4,000 more publicly funded treatment spaces so more Albertans can access life-saving addiction treatment.

The Alberta government is developing legislation similar to B.C.’s Opioid Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act, which allows that province to recover health-care costs on an aggregate, rather than an individual, basis using population-based evidence.


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